When and where El Camino Real High makes the changeover from the gutty little Conquistadores to a force in the Valley 4-A League is unknown, but for the second consecutive week they came mighty close.
Behind three second-half touchdowns Friday night at San Fernando, El Camino Real tied San Fernando, 26-26, shocking the Tigers' homecoming crowd.
El Camino Real, which tied Kennedy, 13-13, last Friday, has not won a game in its past 18 outings.
Long touchdown runs by Paul Hasson and Tylyn Cook brought the Conquistadores back from a 26-12 deficit. Cook's 33-yard run with 4:29 left brought the Conquistadores within 26-24, and Hasson's run for two points tied the score.
Hasson ran for 124 yards and Cook gained 132.
Hasson was also a force on El Camino Real's defense, which stopped San Fernando on its final two drives.
"I don't know when we're going to win, but we're going to try again next week,' Hasson said. "We're going to keep trying until we do."
That might not be too long.
San Fernando, ranked No. 2 in the City Section, did not win despite quarterback Joe Mauldin's 237 yards passing and 56 yards rushing. Mauldin threw for two touchdowns.
Mauldin, obviously, was not the problem.
"We tied this game because our defense was not prepared," San Fernando Coach Tom Hernandez said curtly.
San Fernando is 5-0-1, 1-0-1 in league play. El Camino Real is 0-4-2, 0-0-2.
San Fernando hardly came out tentatively. The Tigers surprised the Conquistadores by recovering an onside kick on the opening kickoff and scored four plays later when Brent Huff ran nine yards for a touchdown. The point-after kick failed when the snap was high.
Mauldin drove the Tigers 81 yards on nine plays on San Fernando's second series. Mauldin, who completed his first six passes, was 3 for 3 on the drive, including a five-yarder to receiver Tommy Howard with eight seconds left in the first quarter for a touchdown and a 12-0 lead.
El Camino Real's running game was working very well and the team was able to put together several long drives in the first half. Two marches stalled when the Conquistadores failed to convert fourth-down plays.
Tylyn Cook scored El Camino Real's first-half touchdown when he ran one yard for the score. It was the second play after a snap sailed over the head of San Fernando punter Max Garcia to the Tiger 10-yard line. San Fernando's Michael Wynn blocked the Conquistadores' extra-point try, and the score was 12-6 with 2:43 left in the half.
Mauldin's 16-yard run and subsequent two-point conversion 1:20 later gave the Tigers a 20-6 lead at halftime and, seemingly, the upper hand. San Fernando went 70 yards on just four plays on the series, the key play Mauldin's 55-yard pass to Huff, who was tackled at the Conquistadores' 16.